Mark Fockele agrees. His company, The Fockele Garden Company in Gainesville, GA, teamed up as a volunteer on another SITES Pilot project, also located in Gainesville. The project, Smartville Gardens, features interpretive exhibits that demonstrate sustainability goals, including harvesting rainwater and replacing turf with drought-tolerant plants.
“The project is very easy to maintain,” says Fockele. “About 90% of the turf was eliminated, which reduces mowing and saves on fuel costs. The use of drought-tolerant plants in combination with harvesting rainwater has allowed the project to thrive for the last two years with no municipal water whatsoever. Even the harvested water has not been needed until the end of July this year. Installing plants that require minimal pruning further reduces a maintenance presence. Of course, there will always be pruning to do in order to shape the plants, but that’s the fun kind of pruning.”
In Fockele’s words, the project is fun and interesting with minimal maintenance. When asked about the long-term impact of similar sustainable solutions for his company’s landscape maintenance division, he replies, “There’s plenty of turf to keep us busy.” As Fockele notes, not all properties are conducive to low-maintenance solutions and not all customers are receptive.
But more are, and more will. Re-engineering your maintenance offering toward a more sustainable approach makes both environmental and economic sense.